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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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Drafting Commercial Agreements

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Trading Places? VAT and Customs Treatment of Imports, Exports and 'Intra-EC' Trading

ISBN13: 9781907444005
New Edition ISBN: 9781910151327
Published: November 2010
Publisher: Spiramus Press Ltd
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback
Price: Out of print

This book introduces the main concepts and trade facilitation reliefs that businesses must understand if they are to trade internationally with the least intervention and disruption from the Tax Authorities.

The worst-case scenario is for an importer to have their goods still within Customs’ control, instead of being where they are needed because the correct procedures have not been followed. Allied to this is the need for businesses to secure the release of their goods paying as little import duty and import VAT as possible. Whilst import VAT is recoverable by most businesses it is still a major cash-flow cost, which has to be funded. Import duty is an absolute cost so importers must review all available means to reduce or remove the duty payable.

The European Community now has 27 Member States and, on behalf of the European Commission, each is tasked with controlling the movement of goods, capital and people both into and out of the EC. Ensuring that duties and taxes are collected, whilst allowing the free movement of goods, is a vital objective both to the Commission and each Member State. For example, Customs import duties are uniform across all Member States, being collected on behalf of the Commission, whilst each Member State levies and retains its own import VAT. In the UK, HM Revenue & Customs are required by the Commission to protect the EC’s borders and to prevent smuggling, avoidance and abuse. Whilst not wishing to hamper the international movement of goods, HMRC will always place their ‘policing’ duties above the commercial interests of any Business.

Successfully managing the VAT and Customs duty issues affecting international trade requires a great deal of knowledge and expertise. The advent of the “Single Market” in 1993, which dictates how VAT on intra-EC trading is to be accounted for, has added to this burden. The VAT and Customs Regulations relating to international trade are constantly evolving with such regimes as the “Authorised Economic Operator” being introduced in the geo-political arena i.e. world governments and the Commission are using fiscal measures to tackle international security issues post “9/11”.

The book highlights the means of importing goods and arriving at the Customs value on which import duty and import VAT are computed. It also provides commentary on export procedures and the VAT treatment of intra-EC trading, including potential fiscal barriers to exploiting non-UK markets. Chapters on potential pitfalls and planning for international trade

EU Law, Taxation